The Skin Project Has Long Since Been Completed. Check Out the Results Here.
This week, writer Shelley Jackson* announced her rather macabre plans for the “alternative press” printing of her new short story, “Skin”: each of its 702 words will be tattooed on a different reader’s body. Afterward, the completed work will be available to read in its entirety only for those lucky, permanently scarred few, (while the unadorned masses are probably content to be deprived of Ms. Jackson’s story).
Well, hey, Yankee Pot Roast loves any stab at experimental fiction and wholly supports cheap publicity stunts. Therefore, we proudly announce our intentions to one-up Ms. Jackson’s efforts on three counts (three-up?) in Y.P.R.’s Cheap & Stupid Stunt for Shameless Self-Promotion That Nonetheless Guarantees a Good Time for One and All.
Firstly, while Ms. Jackson only stingily handed out a measly single word apiece to her freaky fans, Yankee Pot Roast seeks to publish a WHOLE short story on a single human body. Yes, that’s right, one whole story, starting at the canvas body’s head and ending on the person’s littlest toe. It is unfair to the reader, and to the sanctity of the text itself, to split words from their context; words alone become weak and undefined, and readers get antsy.
Secondly, while “Skin” will only be available to Ms. Jackson’s private cult, Y.P.R.’s story will be available to the whole world. Photographs of the handwritten manuscript will be posted on this site, free for all readers in all lands.
Thirdly, and lastly, Y.P.R. would never ask a volunteer to tattoo anything on any part of his or her body, because we cannot steadfastly support anything permanent, especially as social tastes change rapidly, and the story’s worth just may not hold up over time. Also, we tend to make typos. Y.P.R. will use water-soluble Magic Markers, probably of many colors, and the page-body is free to keep the story, or any portion of it, for as long as he or she likes.
Also, it should be noted, our short story will likely be funnier than Ms. Jackson's.
We are 100% serious about this. We honestly seek volunteers to come down to the Y.P.R. HQ, strip to their skivvies (or beyond, if they so choose), and let us print upon them, and photograph their textual bodies. This chance to become a (very tiny) part of literary history will be accompanied by copious amounts of beer.
If you are interested in participating in Y.P.R.’s Cheap & Stupid Stunt for Shameless Self-Promotion That Nonetheless Guarantees a Good Time for One and All, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 7, 2003. Be sure to include: your name; a very brief essay detailing why you’d like to become a part of living literary history; a list of your five favorite books; and a photograph. Y.P.R. will select a winner to be named on this site. Participants should live in the New York City area, or plan to travel there.
We have very nice penmanship.
*That’s Shelley Jackson, not Shirley Jackson, author of "The Lottery," and "The Haunting of Hill House" (and also, deceased).